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The White House communications director, Mike Dubke, told staffers in a meeting last week that President Donald Trump had no foreign-policy doctrine, Politico reported on Monday.
More than 30 White House staffers were at the Tuesday meeting. Dubke and his deputy, Jessica Ditto, pitched a “rebranding” of Trump’s first 100 days in office, which have been dominated by controversy and a lack of legislative achievement, according to the Politico report.
Aides told Politico that Dubke told them it would be difficult to come up with a messaging strategy for Trump’s foreign policy because “there is no Trump doctrine,” much to the shock of some in the room. One person at the meeting told the news organization that those on the campaign felt there was a pretty clear Trump doctrine of “America First.”
Dubke told Politico he was dismayed that staffers would voice their complaints in the press rather than at the meeting.
“It was a brainstorming session, and I really wish they had spoken up in the room so that we could have had an open and honest conversation,” he said. “It is unproductive adjudicating internal discussions through the media.”
Additionally, Dubke said the “rebranding” remark was misinterpreted.
“There is not a need for a rebranding, but there is a need to brand the first 100 days,” he said. “Because if we don’t do it, the media is going to do it. That’s what our job is.”
Trump on Thursday made the most consequential foreign-policy decision of his young presidency: ordering missile strikes in Syria in response to a chemical attack by the Syrian government that killed scores of civilians. The strikes targeted the airfield where the attack had launched.